vacation in sight!

I’m plugging along over here. Work is pretty constant and I go between minding it and not minding it. Intellectually, I understand this is just a point on the road map. Someday I will not work at this job, but for now I need to. I will eventually leave and take with me its lessons, perks and bruises.

My boss is an intense guy – funny and kind, but hard to keep up with too. I do a lot of computer work all day long. He dictates emails over my shoulder several times a day. My already strong typing skills are becoming super human.

Also, I don’t know if I’ve said this before but he’s the attorney for the estate of a famous, bespectacled British musician who was killed 30 years ago, and for his widow. I’m legally not allowed to tell you who, obviously, but maybe you get the idea. (And the last firm I worked for represented some of the biggest names in pop and hip hop.) Needless to say, the celebrity aspect of the job gives it some spice, when, in reality, I’m just pushing papers for these people. But the perks are neat and I’m newly interested in classic rock history.

At the end of next week I head home to Crystal Lake, and then down to my grandparents house in Southern Illinois. I can’t wait for a vacation.

Hope everyone is staying warm and has shoveled out if you had a big storm! No storms here but it’s been bitterly cold. Yikes!

the fantasy

As the year draws to a close I’m thinking a lot about what I was doing this time last year.

The entire month of December 2009 (and most of November too) was dedicated to the Fanny & Jane holiday rush. In fact, my blog entry last December 1 announced our December One Day Sale. And the remaining entries in 2009 went on to be about little other than baking and running a small business (without a lick of experience).

What a difference a year makes.

I had only recently quit my desk job this time last year and I was still basking in the glow of not having to go to work at an office every day. I adored not being beholden to that stupid office.

But I was simultaneously so stressed out, exhausted and nauseous from inhaling sweet treat fumes all day long and battling worry-induced insomnia every night that I could barely see straight.

I am eternally grateful to the fates that be – and to my own decision-making skills – that I’m not in that situation again this year. It was the right move for Kevin and me to put that project on the back burner for now. I honestly don’t think the world has seen the end of the Fanny & Jane menu, but I know I can’t run the business in such a hands-on way anymore.

And then came the few months of the late summer and early fall where I only wrote, performed and babysat little kids. That was also a wonderful but stressful (read: broke) time.

So here I am working at a desk job again. It’s over a month in to my time here and it’s still totally fine. It’s not, as I’ve said before, what I want to be doing, but it’s a necessity right now, and no one ever said this following bliss bullshit would be easy or without sacrifice.

For the most part, I get up every day, come to work wearing some ridiculous outfit that I would never otherwise wear if I didn’t have to play the role of business casual drone and push through the day focusing on the tasks at hand while dealing with my own career stuff as it comes up. Then I head off to whatever class, show, rehearsal or meeting I have scheduled for that night, finally get home around 11pm and spend a few minutes with Kevin before stumbling in to bed.

It’s not glamorous, my hair is often a mess, choosing what to have for lunch and dinner is always a hassle (?), and I feel grouchy and drained at the end of most days. Thank God for my boyfriend and my cats who make coming home at night more than worth it.

It’s also not that different from my old “desk job” lifestyle except that I’m older and wiser and know myself a lot better. And I’m more patient this time around, more willing to tolerate these circumstances and to let what will be unfold in its own time.

That place of patience can admittedly be a very difficult place to live in, but I don’t think I have another choice.

I do find encouragement in moments. I can sometimes catch glimpses of a potential future where all the things I do, love and want to pursue effortlessly come together in some magical career that fits me perfectly. One where I get to travel sometimes, work in an office sometimes, work at home other times and have a flexible schedule and go to the gym when I want to.

Sounds perfect, right?

I’m also like three inches taller and we finally found the right rug for our bedroom floor in this fantasy.

FRIDAAAAY!

YES! Friday. The weekend awaits.

After a week of trying to re-acclimate myself to this lifestyle, I’m finally remembering the good stuff about having a job like this one.

One might ask oneself why I wasn’t able to hone in on these features during my last stint at a desk job, why I made a whole stink about quitting if it wasn’t so bad after all?

The answer is two-fold: First, I seem to have matured dramatically during this last year. I’m not as irritated by other humans as I used to be, I’m more patient, and I don’t take things as personally as I used to. Hurray. I definitely needed a year away from this environment to feel that way, though. And second, this particular job is So Much Better than the last one. In the world of office jobs, it doesn’t take much to make one job So Much Better than another, but those little instances add up.

One thing I missed about having a paycheck job was getting a PAYCHECK. I got one yesterday. I get another one next week. Is this heaven?

I also missed Fridays. In fact, from the moment I quit my last job I missed Fridays. You know, everyone’s saying “Happy Friday!” or “Have a great weekend,” everyone’s ready to bust out of the office and go do their thang – it’s like high school on a Friday but with more spending money and fewer raging hormones. When you work for yourself from home, there’s no such thing as Friday, at least there wasn’t for me. Every day was, like, a Tuesday. Or a really busy Saturday where you have to run a lot of errands.

I said to my friend Jess (of See Jess Run) in an email yesterday that returning to an office job wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I quit my last job, but working from home for myself ended up not being exactly what I had in mind either. It just wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. Yes, I still plan to pursue a career that I’m passionate about, but now I have a new approach.

So. Learning. Adjusting. Moving forward. Blah blah.

Have a great weekend, all. And – you know – Happy Friday.

all too familiar

The first day of my new job was great. I met everyone, got a sense of the office vibe and discovered that the job itself is going to be easier than I expected. I also realized that I’m going to be treated like a grown-up at this office, which is unlike my last job. For instance, I don’t have to ask for permission when I go to the bathroom. Imagine!

The second day was a little less encouraging. None of the circumstances changed, but I started to realize that the job might be a lot less work than I thought it would be, leaving with me with the dreaded Not Enough To Do syndrome that left me feeling bored and depressed at my last job. Sure, having free time during the work day can be lovely, but it turns out I much prefer to feel busy and useful. (Please note: I’d probably also have a gripe if there was too much work. So.)

On the second day I also realized how much I want to avoid walking around with a chip on my shoulder all the time. And I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t do that with this job – that I would work on being kind, cheerful and positive as often as possible. I don’t want to end up being the ugliest version of myself here.

Today, the third day, I find myself trying to accept all these positive and negative feelings and be patient with myself as I readjust to this lifestyle. For the most part, I can imagine months passing by as I sit here in this chair in my dress slacks, sipping my coffee, trying to decide what I should have for lunch today. That’s terrifying and reassuring all at once.

There are moments when I have no idea how I got here, when I think this might be a dream, when I wonder if I should just walk out before it’s too late. The alternative, however, would probably find me sitting on my couch in my workout clothes, NOT having worked out yet, having woken up later than I’d wanted to, trying to figure out what to do with my day, feeling worried about money and unclear about my goals and wondering where the two shall intersect. Near the end there, the “dream” of working from home was often a penniless, boring reality because I didn’t know where to put my energy.

I spent the last year exploring, learning and making personal and professional progress. I have to remember that this return to a desk job is an extension of that – a chance to have some financial stability while I continue to work toward my own goals.

I just don’t know what my goals are yet.

…or maybe I do know what they are and I just need to do what I always tell everyone else to do: Trust myself.

today

I woke up early this morning, got dressed, made myself an egg sandwich and commuted over the sunny Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. I had to stand on the train, and my feet were killing me by the time I got to the office. But I really didn’t mind too much. The walk from the subway to my office building is lovely.

I’m not exactly allowed to and don’t plan to talk in detail about this job. I don’t want to risk it. I’ll say that I like the people I work with so far, I have a fair amount of responsibility and a lot of freedom too, I don’t mind the work and I don’t have to answer phones (!).

If I have to have a paycheck job this appears to be a good one. I’m lucky.

I came straight home from work tonight, ate dinner, and worked with Harvard Sailing Team on a project. And now I’m exhausted. Goodnight.